Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick

This book should be a how to book: How to Have Unhealthy Relationships and Make Bad Decisions.

I mean, these kids are six-fucking-teen!!! Maybe, maybe, if they were at least freshman in college, instead of sophomores in high schooll, it would have been better. Still bad, but better. I mean, Patch is this physically and sexually intimidating pedophile, for the love of God! He may look like a high schooler, but he's been a fallen angel since the 1500s!

OK, deep breath. Keep it together, Michelle. Let me back up and explain the book before I go on a rant.

So, this is the first book in a quartet about young love, a la Twilight. Let me make sure I'm clear here: I have never read Twilight. I have never seen the movies. I can only take my information from conversations I've had with those who have seen or read these stories. As opposed to Twilight's vampire leading man, the main male character, Patch, is a fallen angel. Hear that again: A fallen angel. An angel that God had such an issue with that He cast the angel out. And what did Patch get cast out for? Lust. Yup, the angel cast out for lust is now after a 16 year old girl, Nora.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Anita Blake in Review

You're only as much monster as you choose to be.

That seems to be the theme of the Anita Blake Series. The series isn't over, of course, but I'm waiting for the next few. Kiss the Dead will be out in paperback at the end of May, and Affliction is coming out in hardcover this year. I just don't do hardcover. So, I'll have to wait for more of the series.

There are some halves out now. Strange Candy is a collection of short stories by various authors; as are Cravings and Bite. Strange Candy is what Anita Blake without the Vampire Hunter might have been like. It's short and fairly...limp. It's not boring, but it's not really great either. Good thing Hamilton added the Vampire Hunter part. I wouldn't really recommend their purchase, unless you're a) into the other authors or b) really love short stories. Well, the Anita Blake story in Cravings is just the beginning of Incubus Dreams, about Larry's wedding, so...  Bite is it's own story, and takes place between Blue Moon and Obsidian Butterfly, when Anita is still trying to distance herself, and falls off the wagon after seeing Jean-Claude, but for me it wasn't worth the purchase. Finally, Beauty, which can be purchased as an ebook and comes between Hit List and Kiss the Dead. It's basically just a sex scene between Anita, Jean-Claude and Asher.

So, for me, the series is over for the moment. Therefore, I thought I'd talk about the series in general: pros, cons, and thoughts.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hit List, Laurell K. Hamilton

Weretigers are being murdered all over the country. Anita and Edward are on the case. We join them in Tacoma, Washington. They know who, the bad Harlequin. The know why, to get rid of all the gold tigers and trap Anita for Mommie Dearest, the mother of all vampires. This is the longest Anita's been away from her family (her men and the rest of their people - shifters and vamps). She's even gone days without feeding the ardeur.

My favorite thing, and I acknowledge it's a small thing, is that they finally call her polyamorous! I've been saying it since The Killing Dance!! Edward brings it to Anita's attention, and of course she's still a little prude and reacts as such. :) Love it.

Bullet, Laurell K. Hamilton

This was a setup book. You know the books that have a lot happen, but nothing major? They're just kind of there to put the characters where the need to be, or have the skills they need, or meet the people they need to. I feel like it's more prominent in the fantasy genre. Fantasy series are almost one long story that's just chopped up into little bite sized portions. Sure, the bites have their own flavor, so to speak, but they're still just part of the overall meal.

OK, that analogy is terrible, but the point is valid. All that makes this review a bit long…

Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton

This is another baby book, like Micah. Just as good too. Anita gets kidnapped and forced to rise a zombie.

A rich asshole wants his wife resurrected. She died in an accidental explosion and there's not much to work with. He doesn't just want her raised for a night to say goodbye; he wants a legit resurrection. Anita refuses of course so he cooks up this plan. Well, I should say he cooked it up before he asked, expecting Anita to refuse. Oh, you need a human sacrifice to do it too. SMH Not cool man, not cool.

Skin Trade, Laurell K. Hamilton

Remember those vampires in Incubus Dreams killing the strippers? Remember how they got away? Not this time, beotch!

Anita is back on the case and headed (no pun intended – wait for it…) to Las Vegas. She heads (keep waiting…) to Vegas after receiving a severed head in the mail (NOW you get it) postmarked Vegas. She calls the cops there and it turns out the head belongs to a cop that was killed by the vamps during the attempt to execute them. A few cops died, but more have gone into a mysterious sleep. Not a coma, they're asleep and can't be woken. I'll give you three guesses as to how they're supposed to be woken up........Did you guess? That's right, sleeping beauty, Love's Kiss. No. Really. It doesn't have to be romantic love, just love. One victim doesn't have any family, so his dog does the trick. Adorable, right?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Viva la Books!

Just because it's funny...and I agree. :)

Blood Noir, Laurell K. Hamilton

I loved this book! Ok, so we're still leaning toward the more relationship oriented story lines, but this book is what I will forever consider Jason's Book. It's still from Anita's point of view, but it's all about Jason and his family.

Jason gets dumped, which he's not too sad about, the same day as he finds out his father, who he's estranged from, is dying of cancer and only has weeks left. Anita gets talked into coming home with him as his girlfriend to prove to his father that he's not gay. Hamilton treats this fairly carefully, I think. She makes clear, through Jason, that it's not his family thinking he's gay that bothers him, but that they don't believe him. His dad was abusive in many ways and always treated Jason like he wasn't a good enough son.

Jason is Anita's friend with benefits. They use the term fuck buddies, but I think friends with benefits is more accurate. It's the only friends with benefits relationship that has ever actually worked. So, of course it's fictional. :) They are best friends, and Jason and Nathaniel are best friends. Jason is Jean-Claude's pomme de sang, his daily blood donor. He lives with JC and the vampires. He's mischievous and adorable. He's one of my favorite characters but he's always been a fairly minor one. He longs for love. He and Anita have a platonic love, though they have sex, but he wants what Anita and Nathaniel have. And he's so likable, you want it for him.

The Harlequin, Laurell K. Hamilton

This one was much more along the lines of what I'd come to expect from the series. There's a new big bad in town, and Anita and company have to deal with it.

The Harlequin are the police of the vampire world - a completely neutral (supposedly) entity from the Vampire Council. They've come to town bearing white masks. White means they're there to observe, red means pain, black is death. Anita and Jean-Claude just get white, yet someone keeps messing with them – enhancing emotions to the point of being out of control. It gets to the point where Richard tries to turn Anita into a wolf, almost kills JC and gets himself mortally wounded in the process. Anita manages to save them all, of course.

I had really hoped this near death experience would help Richard…and maybe it does to an extent. When Anita and the gang first hear the Harlequin are in town, they call everyone in. Richard has to cancel a date and ends up actually acting like a lycanthrope and sleeps, naked, with Anita, Micah and Nathaniel. No sex. Let's be clear. I mean literally sleeps. He even helps protect Anita while they sleep from Mommie Dearest, the mother of all vampires. He also tries to accept Micah by trying to check with him before volunteering to feed the ardeur. Anita tries by going to Richard first when she sees him again and sitting with him on the couch. Unfortunately, this is right before the bad guys start messing with him and he almost kills them all.

Danse Macabre, Laurell K. Hamilton

Holy pregnancy scare, batman!

So, this book leans primarily on the relationships again. While I'm still ok with that, I hope we don't lose the Executioner aspect of the books. I mean, the series is "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter." I like Anita's work with the police and I like the cops. Dolph may be acting like a bigoted asshole at the moment, but I still have hope he'll realize the error of his ways. And Zerbrowski is always entertaining.

So, as you can tell, the book starts with Anita and Ronnie discussing Anita's missed period. Anita does end up taking a home pregnancy test which shows she's preggers. Spoiler: she's not. However, that's not what I find interesting about this book. What I find interesting is the reaction of the people in her life.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Micah, Laurell K. Hamilton

Double whammy tonight kids!

This was a really short book, but super cute. Basic rundown is that Anita has to fill in for Larry because Tammy's in the hospital. All is ok, but he can't make an appointment to raise a witness for the FBI. It's in Philly, so Micah travels with Anita to make sure she can feed the ardeur. 

Incubus Dreams, Laurell K. Hamilton

This is the first book I've felt was really Romance. I guess the whole series would be considered Supernatural Romance, but it just didn't really feel that way – this one does. I'm not a huge Romance fan. I don't hate it when it's done right (or my version of right), but I'm not really into. I have the 60/40 rule: 60% needs to be plot (action, mystery, thriller, fantasy, whatever), and 40% can be all mushy. It's not that I dislike Romance, it adds most of the time, what I mind is when it ends up feeling like the whole plot is just there to serve the couple. Then I get bored. I will accept 50/50 occasionally too, if the plot is interesting enough.

In the other books, there's usually an over arching story, a case, a mystery, something. The council is there. A new pard comes to town and people are trying to kill/capture Anita. Richard is framed for rape. SOMETHING. Despite the lack of a strong over arching story, I still enjoyed this book. That's not to say there's nothing going on, just not the fast paced, action packed, mystery/thriller type story we normally get. Nor does it come to a conclusion. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cerulean Sins, Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita continues her emotional growth in this one. There are two things going on here plot wise. One, Jean-Claude's sire (or is it his Dam? she's a chick anyway), Belle Morte, has sent her representatives early - like 3 months early. Two, there's a murderer in town crucifying people with a nail gun, and raping and slaughtering women. 

A few things happen to push Anita along on her emotional journey. She's still struggling with the Ardeur and has sex with Jason. He uses the opportunity to talk with her about how she withholds herself from all her men. It of course goes back to losing her mother, who she loved with her whole heart, and how she's never been truly accepted since then. From her stepmother, to the college fiance, to Richard, and now Dolph's continued badgering. But something else comes out: she doesn't really truly accept others either. She does it because she's trying to protect herself from loss - she doesn't really believe anyone will stay with her. It's not that these are new revelations (I've always maintained Anita is brutally honest with herself), it's that this is the first time she's admitted it out loud. She accepts people in the sense that she doesn't think less of them for who they are, but she can't allow herself to accept them enough to trust them with herself, with her heart, if you want to be sappy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Narcissus in Chains, Laurell K. Hamilton

I just don't know what to say about this one. A lot happens, and Anita seems pleased at the end, I'm just not there. Of course, maybe I'm just missing her sarcasm this time. It does seems she's letting Jean-Claude feed the aduer from her now - from each other, really.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K. Hamilton

Prepare yourself, this is going to be a long one. This book takes place in New Mexico: Edward's home. Something is skinning or dismembering people. Anita owes Edward a favor for killing Harley when an assassin was after her. This is the favor. There's a lot going on in this one, which is why this is a long write up.

I had really mixed feelings - especially in the beginning. Edward was a little too emotionless. I kept thinking, "God, I don't remember him being that bad." Soon you realize that it's just because he's clinging to his "monster," because of his family and we start to see emotion, maybe even love, certainly devotion leak out. It starts to pick up after that. Edward is engaged (no. really), to a widow with a 5 year old girl and a teen boy (14 I think). Anita predictably, and understandable, is PISSED.

Blue Moon, Laurell K. Hamilton

This book starts with Anita finding out Richard has been arrested for rape. Obviously not possible. So, Anita runs to the rescue, leaving a irritated and jealous Jean-Claude behind.

So, it's no shocker Anita and Richard end up hooking up. It was kind of surprising that Richard said he was willing to date Anita while she keeps dating JC. The condition being that he gets do the same. It kind of felt like he did it with the intention of hurting her, which was irritating. Of course, Anita's isn't super excited about this, and both of them know it's hypocritical. But it's not really. I mean, yes, in reality it is, but this is a book. (to Gasp!) The thing is, Anita puts it perfectly, if you're still dating, you're still looking, and if you're still looking, you might find what you're looking for a leave. She may be with JC, but she's not still looking. She just loves them both.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Burt Offerings, by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita kicks some serious ass in this one - Some serious Council ass! Richard continues to be disgruntled. I can't blame him completely, but I've decided he changed into the wolf the way he did to push her away. 

So, last book he changed to his wolf for the first time in front of Anita. Or more, ON TOP OF Anita. To reference my last review (The Killing Dance) "There's a part when Anita is talking to JC and she comments that she's worried that if she accepts Richard's beast, he'll be horrified that she could and reject her, and if she rejects it, he'll reject her anyway because she can't accept him." To expand on that, I think Richard changed the way he did to make it as horrible for Anita as possible. I'm not sure if it was a subconscious effort to push her away so much as to get her to hate his "beast" as much as he does. I don't think he thought it would push her to Jean-Claude though. He figures, at least a wold isn't a corpse, right? Anita even comments that if he had changed differently, she might have been able to accept it. It's not like he had no other opportunities to change.

However, some of his behavior is just ridiculous.

The Killing Dace, by Laurell K. Hamilton

I've taken quite the hiatus from this series and this was by first book back. Since it had been so long, I got a little confused about which book I was starting with, so I read a bunch of reviews trying to find out what happened in the book to make sure I wasn't rereading by mistake. (I did anyway, but that's neither here nor there) So, I'm going to use this review to talk about this book, as well as the series in general and some of the things I read while browsing reviews.

First, the series definitely has aspects of Twilight and True Blood, but came before both. Vampires, werewolves  and most things supernatural and scary are not only real but "accepted" in society. Accepted like gays are accepted: technically yes, but really, there's a lot of discrimination. Anita, the human lead, is in a love triangle with a wolf (Richard) and a vampire (Jean-Claude), a la Twilight. Unlike Twilight, however, Anita is not some helpless damsel in need to saving. She is a bad ass, gun totting  zombie raising force to be reckoned with. As the series progresses, so do her powers. She's a vampire executioner, because, lets be real, a jail isn't going to hold a vamp. She works with the cops, but isn't one. And she is definitely OK skirting the law now and then.